Top Airline Recruiter Shares the Six Most Important Things She Looks for in New Hires

We all know that landing a job as cabin crew with your favourite airline is no easy feat.  It takes a lot of preparation and with so many candidates to choose from, airlines can afford to be very picky.

Recruiters are looking for exceptional candidates but invariably, those who succeed share the same kinds of qualities and personalities.  And now, a senior airline executive has shared exactly what she looks for in new hires.

Jodie King, is Air New Zealand’s Chief People Officer – incidentally, the airline was ranked as the second best in the world by Tripadvisor reviewers and the airline was rated as New Zealand’s most attractive employer, so we’d like to think that her opinion really does mean something.

Here are the six most important things that King and her team look for when they interview someone:

Be Passionate

“One of the things that really stands out for me with people is that they’ve got smiley eyes.  I really look for people who are passionate for life.”

We all know that a warm, enthusiastic and infectious personality are key for landing a job as cabin crew.  Let your personality shine during every interaction you have with recruiters and fellow candidates.

Be Curious

“I love curious people because they’re not afraid to try new things, they love learning, they might fail but then they pick themselves up, they’re interested and stimulated in the work they do.”

It’s okay to tell a recruiter about a time you failed – in fact, that might well be a question they ask you.  What’s key is that you learned and developed as a result of that failure.  The airline industry is constantly changing, so recruiters are looking for candidates who are willing to embrace new ideas and ways of working.

Have Resilience

“I really like people who have experienced faliure or some hard times in their life.  I think they’ve got a far more pragmatic view of the world, they’re far more resilient, they’re far more able to put things into perspective.”

“They bring that learning to bear in terms of their role.”

There are very few people in life who haven’t experienced some hard times at one point or another.  You don’t have to pretend your perfect – what’s important is the way that you dealt with times of adversity.

Show that you are willing to learn and constantly develop as a person, building your skills and experience.

Have Empathy

“I like to ask questions about the whole person, in terms of where they’ve got to, what they’re like as an individual, what some of their life experinces are.  I can get a real sense if they’ve grown as a person and have empathy”

This is such an important skill for cabin crew so being able to tell a genuine story about a time you put yourselves in the shoes of someone else will go a long way to show you can treat people with empathy and respect.

Develop Soft Skills

“Skills like influencing, communication, having really strong connections.”

“I want to see people that can actually demonstrate those really quickly and in a really genuine way.”

We’re so used to communicating via email or social media nowadays that sometimes we lose the personal touch.  Being able to make a personal connection and simply being able to talk to someone one-to-one is vitally important.

See the Bigger Picture

“I actually probe a little bit and ask questions around their interests and the world in general.  Are they staying on top of trends, are they interested in what’s happening around them – politically, economically or socially.”

Airlines not only cross borders but also political and social boundaries.  Knowing whats going on in the world not only makes good business sense but it also means you can better serve passengers.

Mateusz Maszczynski

Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.

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